Orbison, Roy - 1964 Pretty Woman
Type of Spiritual Experience
Orbison with Marianne Faithfull
A description of the experience
When Claudette walked in the room where Dees, Orbison’s then song writing collaborator, and Orbison himself were writing to say she was heading for Nashville, Orbison asked if she had any money. Dees said, "A pretty woman never needs any money".
Just 40 minutes later, "Oh, Pretty Woman" was completed.
A riff-laden masterpiece that employed a playful growl he got from a Bob Hope movie, the epithet "mercy" , and a 'merging of his vulnerable and masculine sides', it rose to number one in the fall of 1964 in the U.S. and stayed on the charts for 14 weeks.
It hit number one in the UK as well, spending 18 weeks total on the charts.
The single sold over seven million copies.
Orbison's success was greater in Britain; as Billboard magazine noted, "In a 68-week period that began on August 8, 1963, Roy Orbison was the only American artist to have a number-one single in Britain. He did it twice, with 'It's Over' on June 25, 1964, and 'Oh, Pretty Woman' on October 8, 1964. The latter song also went to number one in America, making Orbison impervious to the current chart dominance of British artists on both sides of the Atlantic."